If you needed an example of a streaky player in the dictionary, Mason Marchment would be a pretty good choice. When he’s off, he can often fall invisible during games, only to start some chippiness and get a penalty later in the game. But when he’s hot, he’s as good as this. Six goals in three games, but more importantly, you see how sharp, confident, and quick he can be on the ice.
Over this weekend, and especially in this game, we saw Marchment command the ice. Not with his toughness, which is definitely there, but with his playmaking ability and shooting threat. In all three zones, Marchment showed really good vision, making clean and sharp passes to his teammates in transition. I mean, you could hear the sharp click as the puck hit Brooks’ or Agostino’s sticks.
In terms of scoring, there hasn’t been any hesitation in his game, which is why he’s been able to beat goalies clean all weekend. The puck is on and off his stick in a split second, taking maximum advantage of the pre-shot movement.
This is an NHL trait you see in players before they make the show because the league plays at that pace all the time. In the AHL you have a little more space and wiggle room to take a second to think and pass or shoot.
Where does he go from here?
We always talk about Marchment’s upside being that of an NHL player, that is undeniable. The hesitation I have with calling him up is whether he can do this for a larger fraction of the 60 minutes over 82 games that he is expected to play.
The last time he scored before his hat trick on Friday was another hat trick on January 18th. He went six games with only one point, accumulating 12 shots and three minors. Before that hat trick in January, he went another five games without a goal. These numbers aren’t definitive, but they’re a reflection of how he actually played in those games. He wasn’t as dangerous.
I like Marchment a lot, and he started his season strong and looked to finally have grown out of that inconsistency. Unfortunately, while the team stunk themselves out of every building in America in January, he also struggled massively.
My hope and goal for him moving forward is that he can show himself as a positive play-driver every night until the trade deadline. Even if he doesn’t score, if he can be making plays and continuing to look above his teammates, he’ll be a very strong candidate for the Leafs when roster limits go away in March.
If it’s not going to be then, he’s really going to have to fight for his career, but even though he’s about to turn 25, he’s got one more year of waivers eligibility because of his late signing age. He’ll likely go to the Marlies for the first part of next season. From there, we’ll see if he can earn an early call up like we saw from Pierre Engvall this year.
Six Goals in Three Games
I’ve separated Marchment’s goals into two groups. Snipes and Garbage. Marchment showed both the ability to play off the puck and be elusive in the slot in order to take advantage of defenders who are out of position or too slow to keep up with him. The other kind of goals Marchment is known for are the ones where he gets in the blue paint Sean Avery style and pounces on tips or rebounds. I’ll talk about both here.
Shooting from Distance
Marchment’s second of three goals on Friday was a prime example for the quickness and ferocity the left winger displayed in the offensive zone. Head up the entire shift, disappeared up high so he could support the defense, knowing he had space in front of him to shoot, and then when the puck was looking to be heading into that pocket, he pounced. An all-around smart play from Marchment that included responsibility for the defensive side, and trust in his shot that he can beat the goalie without risking a move to the middle.
For his first goal on Saturday, Marchment once again chose to stay in a pocket where he could take a better shot from farther away. Again, you see the trust in his shot to beat the goalie from farther if it’s a clean release rather than someone more point-blank. That’s the thinking of a goal-scorer right there.
Net Front Goals
Marchment’s first goal of the weekend was not easy by any means. He battled with Hubert Labrie in front of the net and took advantage of a great pass from Nic Petan. Petan got injured in Saturday’s game, but that was before he assisted on four straight goals by Marchment before even four periods were up. Speaking of quickness, Petan also showed that on this place, taking advantage of the goalie having to respect his shot, only to find Marchment on the back door.
This was another amazing assist from Petan. He dangled all the way through several sticks and bodies before trying the Bobby Orr dive. The puck somehow got through the blue paint where Marchment jumped on the rebound. Nevermind that Marchment dumped and ran interference against Jack Dougherty. History will forget that.
This play was a classic redirect on the power play where Marchment opened himself up at the perfect time to redirect the puck in. And again, another great pass from Petan.
I don’t know why both defensemen on this play jumped forward, leaving Marchment wide open in front of the net. Nevertheless, he got two wacks at it and used a pretty good set of hands to finish off the goal. Oh, and lets not forget that he actually won the faceoff after Brooks got kicked out.
With 11 goals and four assists in 22 games played this year, Marchment is a step behind Pierre Engvall’s seven goals and nine assists in 15 games played, and he doesn’t have the same level of complete game. But if he can perform on NHL ice the way he did in the AHL, and not like he did in his brief NHL callup where he looked like a nervous rookie, he might carve out a depth role.